Timmy Plays Commander: Xenagos, God of Revels!
As somebody with a short attention span and very little patience – something my playgroup can attest to – I like fast-paced games with lots of action. That’s why Xenagos, God of Revels has been my commander of choice for almost 3 years now.
I’ve still not grown bored of scouring Gatherer for new things to try in my favourite deck – and I’d like to share what I’ve learned so far with all of you. Be ready for monstrous, unstoppable creatures, the relentless decimation of your mates, and trying to convince everyone that you’re going to attack anybody else but them.
The deck’s premise is a simple one: ramp a little, play Xenagos, land something unstoppable, then smash somebody into the floor with it.
Commander games have a habit of becoming clogged by people (almost always Blue mages) trying to do overly complicated and self-indulgent things. Your playgroup will thank you for smashing these players first.
Once you decide on your primary target, try to eliminate one player before moving on to anyone else. This might seem a bit harsh, but the deck doesn’t protect itself well. As they say, “the best defense is a good offense”, and this is certainly true when you’re playing such an aggressive strategy. Focus on removing the biggest threat, so that you’re much more likely to survive yourself.
Top of the Invite List
One of the best parts about playing Commander is that there’s no right decision when it comes to building your deck. That said, there are some must-haves for a Xenagos deck that you’d be crazy not to include!
Since Xenagos triggers at the beginning of the combat step – and scales with itself to boot – taking multiple combat steps massively raises your damage output. Having two extra in the same turn is absurd. There’s several ways to get extra combat steps, but Seize the Day is the best of them.
Sometimes you just need a cheap, powerful trample creature to drop before casting cards like Seize the Day, and Wilderness Elemental fits the role perfectly. Similar cards include [card]Skyshroud War Beast[/card], [card]Cosmic Larva[/card], and [card]Sheltering Ancient[/card].
Our best option for a defensive creature, Ruric Thar, the Unbowed, is both a colossal damage source and a valuable blocker. While he suffers from not having trample, a large portion of his damage is done outside of the attack step, meaning you don’t lose much by pumping more combat-reliant targets. He also heavily hates on Blue mages which, let’s be honest, is never a bad thing.
You need to have a target for each permanent type to be able to cast Decimate, which is why this card is significantly cheap in cost for the havoc it wreaks, but in multiplayer that’s rarely an issue. Decimating a player who’s threatening you while you rampage over the guy next to them can buy valuable time, but beware of casting it too early and across multiple opponents. Making an enemy of everybody while not actually crippling anyone is sure to make you public enemy number one fast.
Choose a Catering Team
Xenagos wants to get the party started as soon as possible, so in the early game playing one or two mana-accelerants is great. It’s up to you whether you go with mana dorks, land ramp, or mana rocks, but I prefer creatures that ramp land because of the synergy with things like [card]Soul of the Harvest[/card], [card]Domri Rade[/card], and [card]Kessig Wolf Run[/card], which reward you for playing lots of creatures.
While it’s not as fast as running mana dorks, the advantage to running land ramp is being less vulnerable to board wipes. It also means you can play things like [card]Chain Reaction[/card] and [card]Blasphemous Act[/card] without affecting your own board state early on. Roughly half your deck should be either lands or mana ramp effects, with an emphasis on lands that come into play untapped.
A large portion of your deck should be things with which to punch your mates in the larynx.
Since Xenagos can only target one creature a turn, there isn’t much benefit to having multiple threats in play, and it’s valuable to build your deck with this in mind. You don’t need more than 25 big trample creatures, with an emphasis on the trample part.
Creatures that scale with pumps like [card]Rapacious One[/card], [card]Pathbreaker Ibex[/card], and [card]Cyclops Gladiator[/card] are all strong choices, along with any objectively powerful trample creatures. Examples include [card]Dragonlord Atarka[/card], [card]Blightsteel Colossus[/card], and [card]Giant Adephage[/card], although you should take into account how much mana you can reasonably generate when choosing your threats.
Dealing with Uninvited Guests
Some of your threats should play defense at least half-decently, since you can only pump one creature at a time. Having five or six threats that fit this description will mean you always have a guy to beat down with – even if attacking isn’t necessarily their strong point, the creature remains useful if you flood on threats.
Examples include [card]Ruric Thar, the Unbowed[/card], [card]Gruul Ragebeast[/card], and [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card]. Since these guys lack trample they probably won’t be a priority to pump with Xenagos, unless you’ve got [card]Skarrg, the Rage Pits[/card] lying around or have managed to get [card]Brawn[/card] into your graveyard.
At a certain point you’re going to want to end the game. The best way to do this is to take multiple combat steps, or through double damage and double strike effects. Having six to eight of these is reasonable.
Examples include [card]Relentless Assault[/card], [card]Temur Battle Rage[/card], [card]Inquisitor’s Flail[/card], and [card]Scourge of the Throne[/card]. [card]Triumph of the Hordes[/card] is also a strong choice, although your table probably won’t thank you for cheesing multiple games like this!
Icing on the Cake
Games often go long and you need to refuel on cards. We can take advantage of having high-power creatures using cards like [card]Life’s Legacy[/card] and [card]Hunter’s Insight[/card], though these cards are a luxury and we can only afford to run a few since they rely on already having drawn threats.
Surprise Party Xenagos Decklist:
Host: Xenagos, God of Revels
Guests To Invite:
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
Silvos, Rogue Elemental
Soul of the Harvest
Avatar of Might
Scourge of the Throne
Bane of Progress
Greenwarden of Murasa[/deck]
[deck]Shaman of Forgotten Ways
Courser of Kruphix
Whisperer of the Wilds
Wall of Roots
For A Night You Won’t Remember:
Seize the Day
World at War
Temur Battle Rage
Armed // Dangerous
Mask of Memory
Pulse of Murasa
Kessig Wolf Run
Skarrg, the Rage Pits
Temple of Abandon
Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
With Commander being what it is, there’s no “right” way to build a deck. You can endlessly tweak your brew to your preferences, and there are a tonne of fantastic options to choose from when selecting your 100 for a deck like this.
Maybe you’d rather play [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card], or prefer to throw your party a little differently? Drop your comments below and tell me what you think!
Community Question: What Green or Red card would improve Xenagos commander deck?
Thanks for reading,
[schema type=”review” url=”http://www.manaleak.com/” name=”Timmy Plays Commander: Xenagos, God of Revels! by Sheridan Challis” description=”Be ready for unstoppable creatures and the relentless decimation of your mates. Ramp a little, play Xenagos, then start trying to convince everyone that you’re going to attack anybody else but them.” ]